Saturday, August 2, 2008

Two seconds left, LT's panting on the other side

My baby is due in a little more than two weeks, which basically equates to 4th and goal with two seconds left — Lawrence Taylor panting and laughing at me from the other side of the line of scrimmage. Basically the thought of changing diapers is LT.

Regardless of my fear of the unknown, I also am thrilled that soon I'll be getting to know my son or daughter. While many people assume I am hoping for a boy whom I can share my sports fanaticism with, I truly would be ecstatic to welcome a baby girl into this world — as long as she doesn't turn out to be the type of person who thinks she can knock over Rick Mahorn.

Feminism aside, the recent WNBA scrum is a perfect example of why men and women should not play/coach sports together. Mahorn pulled the classic "Break it up!" move: When the fight heated up, he started herding people out of the middle. Unfortunately, Lisa Leslie did her best Samuel L. Jackson in "Unbreakable" impression, falling over as if a semi-truck had run her down. But the best part was seeing some 5-foot-nothing, 100-and-nothing player try to take Mahorn down moments later. This turn of events made one thing clear: Former NBA players — this goes for Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer, for example — need to stick their noses out of the WNBA's business.

Obviously, though, I would love my daughter no matter what she were to do. In fact, one of my greatest hopes is to be able to help protect my children from some of the most horrific dangers in this world. This includes natural disasters, "According to Jim" and the ESPYs.

Does anyone watch the ESPYs anymore? In case you don't regularly check, this irrelevant, celebrity-drenched awards show took place recently. Justin Timberlake hosted the event, which unfortunately become little more than a glitzy excuse for actors and rappers to meet pro athletes. But did you hear who was named the Best Male Athlete? Me neither.

Of course, if I ever get the itch to watch the ESPYs on rerun, I'm sure my soon-to-be topsy-turvy sleep schedule will oblige. My access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic and Fox Sports Northwest will give the baby and I ample/depressing opportunities to catch sports entertainment such as:
— Poker. There's nothing like watching fat men get fatter, is there?
— Low-level boxing. I don't even like watching the real contenders, so imagine my excitement at watching two nobodies flail at each other for an hour.
— Horse racing. If the Triple Crown isn't at stake, this sport is about as exciting as Dino Radja's midrange game.
— Arena football: If I want watch football sans defense, I'll turn on a WAC contest. I don't care how cool Jon Bon Jovi is.
— "Best of" shows. How many times can you hear Daryl Dawkins say a fellow basketball player was an unbelievable dunker but definitely not in the same league as himself? 143 times, I unfortunately found out. Definitely not 144, though.

Obviously I know I'll have to cut down on the amount of sports I watch. My responsibilities are about to increase greatly. I'm keenly aware of this concept, but I also am dead set against becoming one of those sports fans who limits himself to the weekly Notre Dame game on NBC. I know myself better than anyone, so trust me when I say that watching the Jimmy Clausen-led Irish squeak out a win against Army won't slake my thirst.

An occasional Rick Mahorn vs. female basketball player battle could help fill the void, though.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I need a Tommy Frazier drip, stat

To paraphrase Sports Illustrated football guru Peter King, here are some things I, as an expectant father/rabid sports fan, "think I know":
  • There are only three certainties in life: death, taxes and Brett Favre flirting with retirement each offseason. His most-recent soap-opera-like comeback bid makes me think he's more suited to be a new character on "Days of Our Lives" (Perhaps as Rock Hardplace, the long-lost evil twin brother of Someone Or Other who has an evil secret ambition: to bring down the morale of a storied football franchise) than quarterback of the Green Bay Packers in 2008. But hey, seriously, good luck with the Ravens; I hear Mark Clayton and Derrick Mason are really coming into their own.
  • Once your baby is within four weeks of being born, you start to realize that a small human could suddenly be your responsibility incredibly soon — as in, at any time. I'm not sure why I had been thinking that all babies come exactly nine months after conception, but I did. This really isn't fair to me, because I had given myself exactly nine months to craft the life-size sculpture of Husky great Sonny Sixkiller for the nursery. I still need more time, and I'm freaking out.
  • Baron Davis and Elton Brand are two of the best bad basketball players I've ever seen. Davis has gone to the Clippers and Brand to the 76ers. Big deal. Their deceptively poor careers are about as relevant as a father-to-be at a baby shower.
  • My wife needs to milk the "pregnant woman card" much more than she has. The baby's almost here, and she really hasn't taken advantage of her position the way she could have. I've seen way too many sitcoms, so I know a lot about how this is supposed to go. I mean, why hasn't she been yelling at me, eating pickles topped with hot fudge, demanding fried chicken at 3 a.m. and making me paint the baby's room 15 times. Next I'll find out that I'm NOT predestined to frantically run out the door with my wife's suitcase but neglecting to grab my in-labor wife on the way to the hospital. Are you saying I won't find out that I'm having twins, then faint and wake up in a gurney next to my wife?
  • College football is still a month and a half away, and I'm already experiencing severe health and mental problems. I have dry mouth, headaches, problems concentrating and night blindness. I need a Tommy Frazier IV, stat. I could be suffering from a Gino Torreta hematoma.
Those are things I think I know, but here's a solid fact: Eric Gordon has about as much chance of exceeding in the NBA as I have of convincing my wife to erect the Sixkiller piece. All that work for nothing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Now that's what I call engorgement

As a soon-to-be father, I've created this blog for the purpose of tying together the random sports thoughts that constantly fill my pine-tar-drenched mind and my fascination with — and sometimes sheer terror of — the amazing things I'm constantly learning about child birth and the sleep-deprived months that follow.

Today's topic: breastfeeding, which apparently is the most complicated uncomplicated action on earth. I basically thought this ages-old practice amounted to "insert mouth here." I learned different at my child birth class Monday night.

Take, for instance, the blisters, cracking, bleeding and even "blocked milk ducts" that many mothers experience. Kind of like the Seattle Mariners' front office. They've been letting formerly big-hitting stars such as Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson suck the company teet raw for the last few years. All these executives have to show for it is a team with the worst record in the league and two vastly underperforming, overpaid infielders. Of course, Beltre and Sexson are getting all the nourishment they need; they're making $13.4 million and $15.5 million, respectively, this season.

After the breastfeeding class, reading a handout called "Breastfeeding: Better for Baby" (courtesy of the Playtex M.O.M. Program) brought to mind Thursday's NBA draft. The sheet listed various boons of breastfeeding that most of these one-and-done hoopsters could have similarly reaped by staying in school:

— BETTER IQ. A clinical study showed that infants breastfed exclusively for the first six months scored 11 points higher on an IQ test than formula-fed babies.
Look, I'm not saying O.J. Mayo and Michael Beasley should reach for their mothers' bosoms. But can you honestly tell me their one year of experience playing with the likes of infantile teammates such as Davon Jefferson and Bill Walker gave them the basketball tutelage needed to step in and make a difference on an NBA team? Doubtful. Look for lots of turnovers and blank stares of disbelief from these two in '08-'09.

— LESS ILLNESS OVERALL AND LESS HOSPITALIZATION. Youngsters such as Russell Westbrook of UCLA (the No. 4 pick), JaVale McGee of Nevada (No. 17), J.J. Hickson of N.C. State (No. 19) and Ryan Anderson of Cal (No. 21) may have killed their future careers in one quick motion by leaving their college careers behind so soon. Rather than learning from great competition and emerging NBA-ready — can you say Brandon Roy? — these kids are destined to be the next Rashad McCants, Kwame Brown, Eddie Griffin and Danny Ferry, respectively.

Perhaps the most surprising thing I've learned about breastfeeding is how stinkin' hard it is for these little guys to latch on. I sort of was under the impression that it was an "insert mouth here" type of situation, but now I find out that failing to secure a firm, wide grip can keep babies from getting enough milk. Speaking of failing to latch on, when's someone going to tell highly touted NFL players such as Cedric Benson, Chris Henry and Pacman Jones that tons of money and long careers are there for the taking; all they have to do is latch on and enjoy the ride. But hey, at least Henry and Jones stuck to breaking the law and making trouble. Benson went for the trifecta, adding "gaining tons of weight" to the mix. Dude looks like he ate his UT Longhorns lookalike.

Now that's what I call engorgement.